About Virtual Machine. How to Access Hardware Devices in VM

Virtual Machine is a completely separate individual operating system installation on your usual operating system. It is implemented by software emulation and hardware virtualization.

Virtual machine is a software implementation of a physical machine - computer - that works and executes analogically to it. Virtual machines are divided in two categories based on their use and correspondence to real machine: system virtual machines and process virtual machines. First category provides a complete system platform that executes complete operating system, second one will run a single program.

Frequently multiple virtual machines with their own OS's are used in server consolidation, where different services are run in separate virtual environments, but on the same physical machine.

The main advantages of virtual machines:

  • Multiple OS environments can exist simultaneously on the same machine, isolated from each other;
  • Virtual machine can offer an instruction set architecture that differs from real computer's;
  • Easy maintenance, application provisioning, availability and convenient recovery.

The main disadvantages:

  • When multiple virtual machines are simultaneously running on a host computer, each virtual machine may introduce an unstable performance, which depends on the workload on the system by other running virtual machines;
  • Virtual machine is not that efficient as a real one when accessing the hardware.

Virtualization brings you a number of advantages – centralizing network management, reducing dependency on additional hardware and software, etc. But as it is always the case, it has certain shortcomings too.

There are a lot of cases when the virtualization software struggles to provide full and reliable forwarding of USB and serial devices to the virtual environment (e.g. VMWare, ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V). Or the appliance can be accessed from the virtual machine but it may not function properly. How to deal with that situation?

When accessing a USB or serial device from a virtual machine becomes a problem, USB Network Gate and Serial over Ethernet Connector come to rescue. Thanks to their port redirection technology, the dedicated programs allow forwarding USB and serial peripherals over network to virtual environments (VMWare, ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, etc.). With the software you will be able to access a USB or serial device from your guest OS, even if the device is not plugged into the host OS but connected to a remote PC.

Access COM port in Virtual Machine

Sec logo

Serial to Ethernet Connector


Requirements: Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/ Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2012. 4.66MB . Version 7.1.876. (28th Jan, 2017). 4.9 Rank based on 52+ users, Reviews(86)
Category: Utilities
Serial Port Redirector (aka Serial to Ethernet Connector from Eltima) allows transferring serial-port data to a guest OS of a virtual machine and is among the most efficient ways to redirect serial data to the virtual environment
Serial to Ethernet Connector


The software allows providing any system with an unlimited number of virtual serial interfaces. A virtual COM port created with the help of the software behaves exactly like a real port and mirrors all the activities of a physical COM port. This allows connecting local serial devices to Hyper-V, VMware, Xendesktop, VirtualBox etc. hypervisors over any distance. Serial to Ethernet Connector can be used with such operating systems: Windows and Linux.

Below you will find a few simple steps that will help you redirect serial data to a virtual machine:

  1. Firstly, download Serial to Ethernet Connector. Then install the software on the host machine with the connected COM port device and on the guest OS.
  2. Once installed, start the Serial to Ethernet program on the host PC, start the app and choose “Server connection”. Configure the connection settings and click “Create connection” to open the port with the device attached.
  3. On a virtual machine, choose “Client connection”. Enter the server’s IP address as well as the name of the open serial port and click “Connect”.

That’s it! Now, you can access the required COM port device from a virtual machine easily and effortlessly.

Software solution to forward USB to virtual machine

USB Network Gate logo

USB Network Gate


Requirements: Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/ Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2012. 5.62MB . Version 8.0.1859. (3rd Nov, 2017). 4.9 Rank based on 179+ users, Reviews(72)
Category: Utilities
Considering that many virtualization apps offer limited or no support for local USB devices, the software solution, USB over Ethernet Connector, seems to be a real sigh of relief for many users.
USB Network Gate


USB Network Gate allows you to attach a USB device to a guest OS running on Virtual Server. Thanks to its USB redirection technology, the dedicated program allows forwarding USB peripherals over LAN or the Internet. With the software you will be able to access a USB device from your guest OS, even if the device is not plugged into the host OS but connected to a remote PC. How can you do it, you would ask?

Here are three simple steps you should take to make this possible:

  1. Install the application on the host OS of a computer in your network.
  2. Share access to a USB device attached to it.
  3. Then install USB Network Gate on the guest OS of the computer that needs to access the device. The application allows USB passthrough to the guest OS running on Virtual Server, i.e. you can connect to the shared device. The OS will see the device as a real one and it will allow you to use it as it were connected directly to your machine.

Additional advantage of the software is that it works across multiple platforms. USB Network Gate supports Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.